Global Marketing

Snapchat – Erasable You!

Posted by Robin Follman-Otta & Sandro Siles

So, I was reading an article from Bloomberg Businessweek entitiled “Erasable You”; Why Snapchat might upend social media, undermine law enforcement and make the internet fun again”.  (Feb. 11-17, 2013).  For those of you who have never heard of Snapchat, it is bascially a free app that sends instant messages/texts that self destruct in 10 seconds…permanently from the internet.  Amazing!

Of course, the first demographic segment to pick up on the value of this are the teenagers.  They could send texts in class with varying comments, pictures, test answers and not worry about being “caught”; the messages would self destruct in 10 seconds…forever.  How amazing would if somehow, marketers could piggy-back on this with Snapchat for advertising purposes.  Snapchat has already become one of the leading downloaded apps out.

Can you imagine how this changes the how we view our concerns about our internet footprints we leave behind every time we surf the net or post information on various social media sites?  Right now, whenever we visit a different search engine, our interests are gathered and stored by various research organizations to use for data interpretation and marketing strategies.  What if everything we put on the internet we can control and delete without worry of it coming back to haunt us.

In theory, we deserve to have the right to control those internet footprints we leave but the costs associated with monitoring it would cut seriously into the revenue of giants such as Google and Yahoo…according to Bloomberg…2% of profits annual.  Euf!  God forbid, they have a conscience and responsibility to their subscribers.

Anyway, I would love to get back some of the seriously embarrassing photos my friends have posted of me with lampshades on my head and dancing in fountains (during college, I swear).  It wouldn’t haunt me whenever I apply for a job in the future…they would just self-destruct in 10 seconds and I wouldn’t have to explain what I was doing 20 years ago to my potential future employer  now.

Team J. Robin & Sandro

Global Marketing

Anatomy of the Mobile Market – Not for the Faint of Heart

anatomy-of-the-mobile-market_50290a697fae4There's not much to say about this chart other than to say, “How crazy is that market?”

Some stories don't require much information to understand. I'm keeping this one short, like a KISS!

Not that kind of KISS, this kind.

Keep It Simple and Stupid.

Global Marketing

Taking New Products to Market??? One size fits all?

Posted by Team J, Robin Follman-Otta, Sandro Siles

Get Your Product to Market in Six Steps

You're the best person for the job, so get started.

“I have an idea but I am confused as to how to get it to market”

 Here is my new attempt at blogging since I have managed to totally miss the point on my last posts 🙂

This article tends to go with how my team produced two operatic recordings in the past 10 years.  Always a fun project artistically but never financially profitable.  Opera tends to be very costly with not alot of financial payout.

I saw this article and thought about Tamara Monosoff’s perspective on taking a product to market verses what we’ve done in the past and how we succeeded and also missed the boat at the same time.

“The first step should be to research how others have gotten their products to market, understand the tools available including sell sheets, intellectual property such as trademarks, copyrights and various patents, and the potential market for your product. There are several good books, courses, columns and online communities available for aide in your research, but as the inventor, you are the best person to decide which market is best for your product.”

Ok- so I did this.  I researched and called managers, producers and various artists.  What I learned is: I am not the best person to decide which market is best for my product.  While I had a very high brow opinion on what my cds were, I missed the true commercial potential by pigeon-holing my project as being for the serious opera afficianado.

Six steps to take your product to market:

  1. Buy one or two well-regarded books on inventing. Look for those that focus on making money, not just patents and read them. I frequently hear from people who say, “I bought your book but I am still confused.” In answer to a couple questions I find they have not actually read the book. After this step you may adapt the next five steps to incorporate what you have learned in your research. (My question is “why do I continue to produce classical music CDs when there really isn’t profit potential in today’s market?” – we do it because we love the craft – standard answer, but not realistic in terms of finding a way to make the projects profitable).
  2. Conduct market research. Identify products on the market, both online and in stores that are similar to your product idea, and note which companies make them and where they are sold. (Did this – decided to do random and unknown music instead.  Then there wouldn’t be alot people to be compared too)
  3. Spend time on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website to identify and read any patents similar to your concept (We didn’t really need to spend alot of time on this – very easy for recordings but we did have to pay rights to certain composer’s foundations because they DID have copyrights on everything.  So they are still making money hundreds of years after they’ve died…too bad they didn’t get to enjoy it while they were still living.)
  4. Develop as good a prototype as possible with your available resources. This can be as basic as a drawing or as evolved as a professionally made product. (We were great at this.  We worked with the best of the best in terms of conductors, producers, engineers, etc.  Quality is fantastic.)
  5. Connect with other entrepreneurs in your local area or online to share information, resources & offer support.  (Did alot of this too with various musical publications so that other artists could gain insights on how to self-produce and make it cost-effective.)
  6. Draft a simple business plan; starting with the fundamentals.  (So here is where we fail; both recordings, we never had the marketing plan component for the recordings.  We had budgets, stuck to them and had great finished products but no financial means or plan to distribute them properly and aggressively.)

Avoid the temptation to take too good to be true sounding shortcuts. Be highly skeptical of those who claim to have unique access and ability to take your product to market for you starting with a basic feasibility study. You are the best person to take your product to market so get started!

“My response, if you don’t have the knowledge or experience to take your product to market, find someone who knows more and put your money behind it or you just wasted significant funds making a beautiful vanity project for your grandkids…In my case, I am not the best person to take my product to market; I have limited knowledge in the marketing world.  So, in the future, I will have a plan and people surrounding me who know MORE than me.”

– See more at:

Global Marketing

The Path to Developing New Sucessful Products


“Is your company finding it hard to develop new products? If so, you might try learning from the masters.”

The Wall STREET Journal Report

Originally, I when I first posted this article, I really wanted everyone to just read it; I didn’t realize I probably should add my “2 Cents”  in terms of “my thoughts” on the concept.

Sometimes when we are the marketing team taking a product to market, we become so consumed by the actual product, we lose focus on the customer.  The costumer relationship that the outside marketing team is building is imperative to the long-term productivity of the team.

While, it seems obvious to us that we need to put the customer’s needs as the highest priority, sometimes people tend to obsess about the actual marketing plan and product and lose the human touch of interacting with the customer at a human level.

With modern technology, email, cell phones, texting, etc…we often cease to actually meet, brainstorm and create together.  When we do this, it becomes a collaboration that we are all invested in.  According to this article, by focusing on these relationships, product deadlines tend to be met, customers continue to retain your services and employees are happier.

“We found—after surveying more than 300 employees at 28 companies across North America and Europe—that the businesses with the best product-development track records do three things better than their less-successful peers: They create a clear sense of project goals early on, they nurture a strong project culture in their workplace, and they maintain close contact with customers throughout a project's duration.”

The teams in our study that embraced these tactics were 17 times as likely as the laggards to have projects come in on time, five times as likely to be on budget, and twice as likely to meet their company's return-on-investment targets.”

So, everyone, don’t forget the customer reigns supreme.  The product is an extension of the customer.


 Posted Team J, by Robin Follman-Otta and Sandro Siles
Global Marketing

News Flash – Marketing Wars have been declared. We are at DEFCON 1.

“Gentlemen! Start your engines.”  A famous introduction heard to start some of the most prestigious auto racing events like the Indianapolis 500.  Historic races have pinned the highly favored No. 1 racer going against the promising field.

No, war has not been declared on a sporting event, but instead it is being declared in the highly competitive internet radio market featuring No. 1 – Pandora being challenged by the smaller No. 3 – Slacker.

Marketing wars have been the stuff of legends, and one of the greatest battles featured rental car underdog AVIS going head-to-head against the almighty giant, Hertz.  In one of the most memorable marketing wars ever declared, a nearly bankrupt AVIS launched its long-running ad campaign, “We try harder,” against Hertz.  AVIS turned its business around, not only saving the company, but earning itself the marketing respect and admiration of the corporate world.

In 1962, Hertz was the leading rental car provider followed by a number of distant competitors, including AVIS.  AVIS was losing money, and the company realized that consumers had not understood the value and benefits of their brand.  When AVIS hired world renowned marketing agency DDB, the advertising execs asked AVIS execs why rental car patrons weren't choosing AVIS.  Unsure why patrons weren't responding to the AVIS brand, DDB first interviewed executives and employees before discussing any ad campaigns, and made the recommendation to restructure its business.

DDB took AVIS through three steps that would be the basis to gain market share:

  • Step 1 – Before running any AVIS ads the company had to overhaul their customer service department and upgrade their product portfolio.
  • Step 2 – AVIS executives were forced to answer, “Why does anyone ever rent a car from you?”  Their response gave the company clarity as to the direction of their campaign, and they answered, “We try harder because we have to”.
  • Step 3 – Create employee involvement and support.  Each worker received copies of the ads before they were run in an effort to get their involvement and support.

These three steps led AVIS to launch its campaign from a position of strength, rather than from a position of weakness.  During the campaign, AVIS changed its brand to the “right choice” for rental car services going from an 11% market share to a 35% market share.

Slacker AdSlacker finds itself in a very unique position as they must prove to their core audience and potential internet radio listeners that they have to try harder than its competition to earn their business.  Slacker recently launched its internet ad, a 30-second sling against Pandora which finds a young women opening a blue “Pandora's box” labeled “P,” in reference to Pandora's app icon.  As she sits with a friend at a coffee shop, the box opens with an annoying song playing, and patrons can hear the women complain to her friend on how “it plays that over and over again,” blaming Pandora for the “small music library.”  Looking at her phone, the friend points out that Slacker has 10 times as many songs, and features.

US Monthly InternetSlacker offers free, ad-supported Internet radio with a two tier premium service subscriptions.  Listeners can choose the Slacker Radio Plus for $3.99 a month that excludes ads, and includes ABC News, ESPN radio, unlimited song skips, download stations on mobile, and complete song lyrics.  If you prefer a premium service, subscribers can choose Slacker Premium for $9.99 a month that includes all the Plus features and plays songs and albums on demand, single artist stations, download playlists on mobile, and create playlists.

Live AVIS, Slacker is struggling with consumers understanding its brand as they have been slow to react.  Slacker currently has over 4 million monthly users, however only 560,000 pay a monthly subscription.  Compare that to Pandora, which enjoys more than 65 million users a month with 20 million monthly subscribers.  Pandora is the leading internet radio provider, however roughly 90% of its revenue comes from ad-based sources while subscription revenue accounts for just 10% of total revenue.

US Monthly Internet #2Slacker is banking on its large music library, and its ability to provide unlimited access to its music library to increase its user base, especially its subscription based users.  Pandora is struggling to build a profitable business as the company has to pay high royalty fees for any music heard by listeners.  Pandora is currently lobbying congress to restrict the amount of royalty fees charged to internet radio company's that would improve its bottom line, and many industry analysts are skeptical of the company's ability to survive if the legislation is not passed.

US Monthly Internet #3Slackers core audience are the 18-to-44 year olds, slightly more females than males, and the company is creating a brand based on the consumers listening experience.  Current listeners are responding by confirming that Slackers personalized approach to music is better than others, like Pandora who use algorithm calculations to create musical playlists.

Industry analysts and music lovers are listening carefully to see how this plays out.  Do you think that Slackers will be the AVIS of the internet radio market?

Global Marketing

Are You Listening?

Ever wonder if you're marketing message is being heard?  The Chicago-based media group The Onion, created a marketing-focused offshoot in 2012 called Onion Labs to identify if audiences where hearing marketing messages.  The big brands where taking notice of Onion Labs, and their research.

Marketing Blog - The Onion LogoThe Onion is a “news” paper that was launched in 1988 that mocks real news items with humorous headlines becoming masters of satire and rambunctious wit.  The Onion is popular in bars and cafés as many of its followers read their stories on smartphones.  Popular among the Gen Xers and Yers, Onion Labs was created to understand if the papers message was reaching the millennials, who are the 18-to-34-year-olds.

According to staff writer Molly Soat of the American Marketing Association, brands big and small are in hot pursuit of millennials, who now encompass that marketing sweet spot, but it’s a hard audience to reach.  In her recent article, Onion Labs: Success by Self-Deprecation, Soat describes how “millennials are notoriously ad-blind, shunning—or simply not noticing—print or Web ads, or speeding past TV commercials with their DVRs.  To get their attention, marketing teams continue to experiment with a tech-heavy mix of tools such as Twitter feeds, Instagram accounts and videos in hopes of becoming a household (or dorm room) name.  But regardless of the tool or channel that marketers choose to use, one trend is quickly accelerating amongst Gen-Y-focused brands: content marketing—often the more ridiculous, the better.”

In the past, young consumers were often motivated by the use of humor, peppering print ads with pop-culture references or filming TV spots full of slapstick.  That market has now changed as “viral videos” are the king of persuasion.  Just look at the brands like Old Spice and Red Bull, who have created brand-focused messaging that consumers wanted to share with their peers.  These content-heavy brands are becoming bolder, and even poking fun at themselves, admitting their shortcomings, and revealing the human side as they try to connect with their audience.

The Onion recently discovered the power of bold when recent headlines read “Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex,” and “Kim Jong-Un Named The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.”  If you're wondering how powerful this media group has become The Onion sports 5 million Twitter followers with 90% of its audience falling into the age group of 18-to-44-year-olds, 26% have household incomes over $100,000, and 35% have advanced degrees.

When Microsoft Corp. was launching Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) in 2012, the company admitted “…that our traditional marketing efforts didn't work as well in this audience because they're so skeptical of us.”  Microsoft partnered with The Onion to design a marketing campaign that was effective in reaching the millennials.  What happened next was unexpected as The Onion sent Microsoft 40 different ideas designed to make people laugh, in fact Microsoft exec's where caught off guard and described many of the ideas as being “completely out of left field,” but they appreciated their approach of not catering to corporate sensibility.

Marketing Blog - Uninstall
“Uninstall” Campaign – Click photo to view video.

The new campaign started with an online video of a young man with his therapist hating Internet Explorer (IE).  The young man flashes back forcibly uninstalling IE from his friends and families computers saying the only thing that IE is good for is downloading other internet browsers.  The video ends with him saying, “IE9 is actually good.”  The “BrowserYou Loved to Hate” video appeared on Microsofts Tumblr site dedicated to IE9 reinvention, and got an average viewership of 2.6 times per unique visitor, 765,000 YouTube views, over 14,000 Facebook “Likes” and more than 5,200 Twitter mentions.

If you're wondering about the results of the marketing campaign, IE9 has over 2 billion users.

It's a brave new world, and the marketplace is changing.  Are you ready to be bold, and different?  Ready to make your target audience laugh?